Employers’ Role in Assuring Workforce Competency


Carolyn Szafran


Sharri Black, LMSW
Annie Rickett, RSW

Unifying the Parallel Roles of Regulators and Policy Developers/Employers with Regard to Continued Competencies

Participants will gain perspective on the complementary interaction of the workplace and regulatory/licensing bodies with a focus on continued competencies. We will review the ongoing professional development model of the New Brunswick’s Department of Justice and Public Safety as an example of an employer committed to excellence in professional development.We will also explore our collective commitment to ongoing learning and professional development as an evolving mandate.

Learning objectives:

After this session, participants should be able to:

  1. As an example, recognize the role of the New Brunswick Department of Justice and Public Safety as an employer on continued competencies and how best practice should directly parallel and complement regulatory perspectives.
  2. Identify reasons for the New Brunswick Department of Justice and Public Safety to be committed to its employees’ professional development.
  3. Understand the components of the New Brunswick Department of Justice and Public Safety’s ongoing professional development model adopted to forward our profession.

Establishing a Competency-Based Training System in Child Welfare

Participants will be introduced to the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) newly launched Kansas Child Welfare Professional Training Program (KCWPTP), which provides comprehensive, competency-based in-service training (CCBIT)* for child welfare professionals and supervisors. Also discussed will be other efforts DCF has taken to strengthen, support, and retain the child welfare workforce.

*Kansas has partnered with the Institute for Human Services (IHS), Columbus, Ohio, to bring this system to Kansas. IHS is the developer of this system and serves as the state training coordinator for the Ohio Child Welfare Training Program.

Learning objectives:

At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the reasons why Kansas Department for Children and Families embarked on the journey to establish a competency-based, standardized training system for child welfare staff and supervisors.
  2. Identify key components of a CCBIT system and necessary implementation steps.
  3. Understand the other creative steps Kansas took to support their child welfare workforce.

Presenter information:

Since a young age, Sharri Lynn Black, LMSW, has had a passion to “help children and families understand themselves and each other better.” For more than 35 years she has brought that passion to the various positions she has held in child welfare – from case management to administration on the local, state, and national levels. Currently, Sharri serves as deputy director for assessment and prevention, permanency, and training with the Kansas Department for Children and Families/Prevention and Protection Services. Sharri and her husband are the parents of four adult children—three of whom were adopted from foster care—and grandparents of five.

Annie Rickett, RSW, is a senior advisor for the Community Services and Crime Prevention Branch of the New Brunswick Department of Justice and Public Safety. In this position, her responsibilities include: policy development, research analysis, networking/stakeholder engagement, project management, quality assurance and continuous improvement initiatives. Annie has taught social work ethics at Université de Moncton. She began her professional career in social work regulation in 2009 with the New Brunswick Association of Social Workers, transitioning into the registrar position. Annie held the position of the vice-president of the Canadian Council of Social Work Regulators for two years before taking on the presidency role until she began her employment with the government of New Brunswick. Prior to her social work regulatory roles, Annie held positions as community coordinator for the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation, research assistant at Université de Moncton, and psychiatric patient advocate with the government of New Brunswick.


Ellett, A., Ellett, C., & Rugutt, J. (2003). A Study of Personal and Organizational Factors Contributing to Employee Retention and Turnover in Child Welfare in Georgia. University of Georgia. Retrieved from: http://www.uh.edu/socialwork/_docs/cwep/national-iv-e/ExecSummary.pdf

National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (n.d.). Why the Workforce Matters Infograph. Retrieved: April 3, 2017, https://ncwwi.org/files/Why_the_Workforce_Matters.pdf

Ohio Child Welfare Training Program http://www.ocwtp.net/

Rycus, J. & Hughes, R. (1998). Field Guide to Child Welfare, Volume I: Foundations of Child Protective Services. Washington, DC: CWLA.

Rycus, J. & Hughes, R. (2000). What is Competency-Based Inservice Training? Retrieved from: http://www.ocwtp.net/PDFs/WhatIsCompetencyBasedTraining.pdf